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Dating the “Natural” Way

For some people, they want to “give it some time” and try the “natural way” before they consider adoption, IVF, surrogacy, etc. Thats how I feel about online dating. I think I’ve finally reached a point where I have a good idea what I want. I could narrow the field more easily now. I’ve dated every race, all educational levels, and men with a wide-range of careers. I am pretty open-minded about trying a relationship on and seeing what works. Recently though I’ve realized that there are certain educational levels that match me better, and yes, even a race that I prefer. You like tall men; I like black men. Gasp all you want, but I think we need to be real about such things. It isn’t really the look; I prefer that culture. I’m still not entirely closing doors, but I can focus my search.

As a single mom, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to meet single men. I am certainly not barhopping. Babysitter time is precious and not to he wasted on a lame first date. Online dating makes sense right now, but I’m not ready to make the leap. On the other hand, I would love to have that kind of excitement again. So how long do I “try” before I seek fertility treatments for my love life?

Have you tried online dating? What pushed you into it? Do you have any tips for me?

You’d Better Not Pout….

I am alone in the house. Neither child slept here last night. I had the morning/early afternoon to myself to sleep in, clean, and catch up on work. I even went out with friends last night. You know the friends who my children barely know because they only gather at places where you must carry an ID; the ones who are still pulling the same shenanigans in their forties that they were in their twenties. I was prepped to sleep in, but I woke earlier than normal, so I shoved my eye mask on my face and tried to drift off again. It didn’t work, yet it took me more than an hour to get out of bed.

Wednesday I got some supremely bad news – like ruin Christmas for me kind of bad news. Until there is a resolution, I guess I’m kind of stuck. It’s a good thing we are already decorated for Christmas and I am nearly done shopping thanks to Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Things are better with S-man. We are slowly working it out, but I also started dating which is just as awful as it sounds. Bad dates are one thing, but good dates with someone who could potentially be all of those things – oh the anxiety. I’m working really hard at waiting to see what that could be, trying not to have the conversation just yet. I’m waiting to see if I can fully trust S-man again. These matters of the heart cannot be rushed. I’m waiting for resolution on the bad news that I cannot even influence. I’m just waiting – and apparently I am pouting.

My quiet morning is not improving anything. Clearly if I felt driven to blog, it has only pushed me deeper inside my own head. For the record, I have written two other blog posts for you, but I haven’t gotten to posting them. One of them was really positive too! And yet, this was my horoscope for today: Your best strategy is to take some time away by yourself today so you can set priorities and put your goals into a healthier perspective.

I took the time… it’s not working. I need a healthier perspective. So what do you do to put an end to your own pouting? I am sitting in front of the Christmas tree typing. The only thing better I can think of would be brunch delivery, but that does not exist. I guess I’m really not good at waiting…

What Is Love?

So maybe I’ll try this blogging thing again. I was hoping to work some things out in my own and and just come back to posting normal life and adoption stuff, but I guess we are beyond normal. I guess I thought that when things were “interesting” around here I would post more often; however, this time I couldn’t find anything terribly funny about it. The short story is that there was a pregnancy scare and S-man and I have been dealing with the fallout.

Clearly, he already has issues with commitment, and a baby is nothing but commitment. He is absolutely amazing with both Mijo and Junior, but I suppose he feels he can always walk away. That also scares me a little bit because Mijo at least is old enough to suffer yet another loss if he suddenly disappeared. It’s not like it’s exactly the right timing for me to have a surprise baby either but S-man’s freak out definitely got me thinking in a different way. It isn’t that I want the baby. I don’t. It isn’t that I someday want a baby with S-man. That doesn’t matter to me. I am pretty patient with all of his issues because I at least understand where they come from for him. I was not surprised that he needed some space in the midst of all of this. I took some time for myself also. Brother 1 was awesome about making sure I could go out to dance to see my friends and blow off steam. Brother 2 was great about offering support through the internet while globetrotting. And somewhere in all of that perhaps I realized that I might just want a man that will commit, a man that won’t need so much space that I am forced to turn to other friends. Yes, I know it is ok to need your friends – and I have some pretty amazing friends, but I guess what I really want is to be someone’s person. To know that I can text in the middle of the night and not be a bother. To be the priority. With S-man I am nearly always the first person he would call. Only his family would trump being somewhere with me and even some of that is negotiable. But his family might trump me. And sometimes when he realizes how much he does love me, it makes him nervous enough that he tries to push me away. Mostly those times are so momentary it doesn’t matter. But this time, there was a moment there when I thought that might be the end of us.

I am stuck trying to determine if we can get past this or not. He is trying; I know he is. But even though I am starting to act normally around him, my heart is scared. I need to figure out how I really feel about commitment. There is definitely a part of me that doesn’t care at all about getting married. I totally respect marriage; however, I have seen so many marriages fail that it just doesn’t seem like a safety-net or commitment in and of itself. I guess the commitment of any relationship is based solely on the people in it not the legal status, titles used, or words said. I guess it’s that kind of thinking that made it very easy for me to be in a relationship that was not defined as a relationship and be with a man who I knew I had very little interest in marriage. It didn’t really matter what other people thought, because he truly is very good to me and we fit together very well. Mostly, he does act like I am his person, which I guess is why this has worked for the better part of a decade. Is that commitment? Is our moment only different from that of other couples because I think his issues make it easier for him to walk away? Can’t anyone walk away at anytime, really? Clearly, he hasn’t walked away.

Funny, I don’t think it would bother me as much or would I be in the same place if there was going to the baby. If there was going to be a baby, then I would be focused on the baby, not myself. It would be very easy for me to say to him ‘you can be in or you can be out but is not fair for a child for you to come and go’. The baby’s emotional needs would easily trump mine and there would have been disappointed but not the same sadness. The baby would have given me strength.

I don’t know if I can go back to normal. I don’t know if we can continue to fit together so well if I am now craving some sort of commitment. Or at least some understanding that he can’t just walk away? I don’t know if I have the patience for even momentary walking away and demands for space. Maybe we do have as much commitment as others just without the words. Can I go back to letting him be my person? Will he ever admit that I am his person? Does it even matter if he does?

While I try to figure all of this out, I am trying to focus on other things and let it fall into place. I have already started working on Christmas for the kids which is fun. I have started researching what I need to know for starting a container garden next spring. Any help with that would be appreciated as I have a black thumb of death. I guess that’s where I am. Thank you for listening. It did help me to write this out. Maybe I’ll write again soon about what the therapist said to me about it all, but I’m not sure I like her take so I need to let it simmer a bit longer.

Prioritizing

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have known that in the last couple of months there have been some work stress for me. What it boils down to is that I did not get the promotion that I expected. Rather I was told “you’re not quite ready” and someone I’ve never met was appointed my supervisor, when I had largely been working without a supervisor prior to that. I had a good cry about it. I ate too much pizza one night. S-man has been nearly perfect in his support. I don’t know what I would have done without him; I probably would have been a tearful mess for days. People can say what they will about S-man, but he truly is extremely supportive when the chips are down.

It has made me really think about what is most important and what I want my life to be about. I am one of those rare women who is more concerned with respect rather than love. Have you ever heard of that? According to the therapist, most men want respect, and most women want love. When it comes down to it though, I have always craved respect. That may seem odd for a single woman, but I think it has a lot to do with my family of origin and never questioning I was loved. Also my parents are kind of intellectuals, so I probably felt like I had something to prove – ok, I did feel I had something to prove. So for me this felt like I had to earn respect. I tried so hard to get my mom to think I was wise beyond my years. But there are people who respect me… One of my girlfriends has no idea how much she helped me by asking me for advice last night.

Things I want to prioritize:

  • Mijo and Junior – there is nothing more important than these two little boys and my beyond normal family. They need my time, attention, and emotional stability, which means I’ve got to get over this and not let it get to me again later.
  • Love with all I’ve got – S-man, my friends, and all of my extended family. I cannot be faulted for loving too much. Spending time with and investing in those I care about will likely have the greatest returns of anything I could spend my time doing. I tend to check off my list and then give attention to others, but perhaps it’s time they move to the top of my list. S-man will be around less in just a few weeks (for the foreseeable future), so I want every minute to be quality.
  • Prayer (maybe even church) – It is the source of all wisdom, right? There is a part of my job that feels like I was placed there. Maybe it’s time to figure our what I’m supposed to do with that beyond doing my job.
  • Food – Cooking and meal planning make me feel better about myself and my attempts at domestication. I’m still learning, but I want to think ahead more and do take out less. That stuff adds up!
  • Scrapbooking – I enjoy it, but I think it’s important for the kids too. I’m behind on their albums, and I want to start a LifeBook for Junior. I think it totally applies in his situation even if he wasn’t adopted and that way he won’t feel left out when he’s old enough to realize. I feel accomplished, creative, and loving when I’m working on scrapbooks for the kids.
  • Organization – ah, it just calms my mind to have things completed and organized right now there are too many things on my list and much to “Spring Clean”.

Things I don’t want to prioritize:

Since I first drafted this blog, a few things have been occurring to me about what I need to let go.

  • This blog – I’m not walking away, but I am going to let go of the pressure. I’m an introvert. Some days I even have problems commenting when I really want to comment on your blogs. Even when I’m not writing, I am reading. I tweet more than I blog, and I think that fits for me. I really only want to blog when I have something to say… even if they are just silly soapboxes. This also means that I am going to continue taking my sweet time fixing the broken images. Now, if there was someone who wanted to sponsor my blog posts, I’d be happy to write every day, but until then….
  • Yard work – the back yard can fend for itself for a while. It’s hot and it’s really only the dog and us who are ever back there. I’ll be much happier if I’m not avoiding scratching mosquito bites, even if the bushes look a bit out of control.
  • Guilt about cleaning during work hours – I work from home most of the time, although I do go in or Skype in for meetings (this may be increasing). I can finish up things that weren’t done after bedtime, and I feel like I just might be succeeding at this adult thing when my house stays clean. It should be totally okay to do laundry, load the dishwasher, and even sweep the floors before 5pm.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to accomplish all of this. The first two priorities will likely happen in my decisions simply by keeping them in mind. The last three priorities I may have to schedule or put at the top of my to do lists. While I’m at it, I want to exercise more. Any suggestions for me on resetting my priorities and taking my lumps with a positive attitude?

3 Blogs in 1

I started to write a couple of blogs, but never finished them. I’m not sure I have any actual point here. Maybe it is just a sign that I am thinking a lot. I’ve always been ok with not knowing the answer and not knowing what comes next. I suppose this could merely be a symptom. I am still trying to find my blogging groove, but I have seen some people post “random” updates with a bulleted list.

1. I miss my brother. I miss my quiet, thoughtful, passionate brother. Sure, I miss his cooking, but we’re all surviving on my attempts at domestication. He’s been on my mind a lot recently. Being on opposite ends of the world makes it difficult to catch up. Sure social media makes it easier, but we are both introverts. It’s actually sad how little we connect. When we do it is sweet but short.


Brother 2 has been in Asia for several months. His career ambitions have taken him around the world for several “short” stints – Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East. I’m so thankful that we get much quality time in between when he is actually in the States, but I’m afraid those will get less frequent as he’s climbing the career ladder. My brothers are some of the smartest men I know, so I have much faith in what he can achieve.

2. The other day we ran into some of S-man‘s friends from middle school, and we set a date to meet up for dinner next month. S-man still hangs out with friends from middle school! I have some dear friends from my college days, but we don’t catch up nearly as much as we should. Perhaps we have grown a part. I certainly don’t chat with friends from middle school or even high school. Recently, I have been making more “mommy friends” as well.

I spend my time with my new “mommy friends” and my girlfriends from my pre-mommy days; I catch up with my friends from school when I can. While there are a couple of exceptions, I mostly prefer my new friends to my old friends. I consider myself a loyal person. I have a family member that systematically eliminates people from her life, and I don’t consider myself anything like her. Yet, this concerns me a bit. What does it say about me that I prefer my new friends to my old friends?

3. I’m contemplating all the adoption bloggers I know or know of. Some are simply bloggers who happened to be touched by adoption. While they may mention adoption now and then, I am really thinking about those that talk about adoption regularly. Some of those who are in the midst of the process and mostly writing about the wait and their own experience rather than examining all the various issues involved long term. It is those that talk about all the issues involved, who try to be advocates, and who keep blogging after their kids are home that interest me right now.

It seems there are two kinds of adoption bloggers – those that are primarily about adoption and those that are primarily about blogging. While I’m not a fan of blogs in general that simply report on their activities, Mooshinindy can write about a note to the tooth fairy in a way that warms my heart. No matter what the subject matter, I most appreciate analytical, thoughtful bloggers.

I guess I’m feeling a bit bothered by those that are put forth as the best adoption bloggers, who seem to be more about blogging than adoption. I read many thoughtful adoption bloggers that read books on adoption and go to conferences and think about the impact of adoption on their kids’ daily lives. This is clearly an unfinished thought. I don’t have a point of which I am currently aware. Any insights for me?

Facial Hair Trauma

I was traumatized at the salon. Yesterday, after sudsing my lock, massaging my scalp, and catching up on the past few weeks, my stylist wrapped up my hair and began stirring the hot wax. I had gone a couple of extra weeks between cuts and not been paying a lot of attention to my brows, so I wasn’t surprised that he spent some extra time and care shaping them just so. But when the wax suddenly was placed on my upper lip I froze.

My stylist and I have an understanding. I trust him. He has only ever made me look better. I also consider him a friend, as we occasionally cook for each other and get together outside of the salon. He asks me what I want him to do this time, I tell him to have fun and do whatever he wants, and he tells me about the most recent ad he saw or new idea he wants to try. It’s nearly the same every time. When I told him about finding my first gray hair, he told me not to worry and when I need color, he will just mix it up for me. Without even asking, one of these days he’s going to pull out the dye, and I will know that I am officially too gray. We had never discussed bleaching or waxing beyond my brows, so excess hair was not a concern that I had. Apparently, I am now too hairy and needed that extra work.

I am glad that my stylist feels comfortable enough to see something that needs to be fixed and simply fix it. I really am okay that he didn’t ask, and I’m probably glad he didn’t talk about it. But he didn’t mention it and I was in shock, so I didn’t ask any questions. I don’t know how often I’m going to have to maintain this. I don’t know if I need to go for lip touchups like I go for brow or bang touchups. I don’t know if I need to be bleaching at home. I don’t know how to bleach anything other than towels and socks.

So how do you maintain your facial grooming? (Please feel free to respond anonymously) Do you bleach or wax? Do you have a professional perform bleaching or waxing? Do you maintain at home in between professional work?The thought of stubble frightens the daylights out of me. There is just nothing cute, sexy, or feminine about that! Has anyone else suddenly been bombarded with new grooming techniques by a stylist?

My Hard Candy Shell

My heart hurts right now.

Recently, a friend was confused why people sometimes think she is aloof or cold or hard to approach (I cannot remember the phrase she used), and I explained to her that often those of us that have bigger hearts and are more sensitive protect ourselves just a little more. Later on in the day, I realized that “us” was very accurate. I do sometimes have a hard candy shell, but I’m truly mush inside.

The problem is that even those people who know how big my heart is tell me they are intimidated by me.

And then there are the ones who just assume that I am a mean person. It worries me that I am less effective with them professionally simply because I am not oozing with my personal passion. But passion might make me vulnerable. I fear that it does. I fear that people try to take advantage of my big heart and that is why so many people hurt my feelings. Even when it does not make me vulnerable, passion is a level of intensity against which many people react.

But I can’t find the balance between sharing my passion and showing intensity in my passion – at least not yet. Too many people just find me difficult or uncaring, which are truly the furthest things from the truth. I care so much and their mis-assessment hurts my feelings. It hurts my feelings so much that some days I barely get anything done. I vacillate between self-pity to anger to hurt to haughtiness.

My heart hurts. It doesn’t matter how much recognition I receive, if I am still questioned by a few, especially about those things in which I truly invest all of myself, it hurts. It might be because they see through me… they know I am kind-hearted and vulnerable. It may be that they cannot see through me… they see my passion only as intensity and are intimidated.

The next time you see someone that seems to have a tough exterior, consider that they may be protecting the sweet mush inside because so many others have tried to take advantage of their caring.

And this, my friends, is why I have not been blogging or very active on twitter recently.

First World Problems

When I first heard the term “first world problems” I figured it was an excuse for someone who wanted to whine, but had enough perspective to feel guilty for doing so. I’m not big on whining. I am big on taking life by the reigns. I am big on counting my blessings, and I know I have been very blessed. Maybe it is the African art in my kitchen, reminding me of that adventure, but more and more recently, I have been very conscious of just how blessed we are.

This afternoon I decided I really wanted something for dinner from this little, local store that makes everything fresh daily. I felt like we have been in a meal preparation rut as of late. I threw on a hat, grabbed my keys, and headed out to see what amazing meal I could create, only to discover I had left the cabin light on all evening after scrubbing out the interior. With no-one but the dog at home, I couldn’t jump the car (or get it out of the garage. Being Sunday, I was afraid they would close early, so I figured I could walk. A dead battery is certainly a “first world problem” and I wasn’t going to let it get in my way (of fulfilling my craving…because let’s not forget the very stocked refrigerator that I have).

About a block into my journey, I realized that it was the middle of a hot July day and perhaps not the best time for a walk. But I am stubborn, and I had already started. I tried to stick to the shady side of the street, but by the time I got to a busier street, I was not thrilled to have to wait on (air-conditioned) cars before I could cross. It wasn’t until I was a block from my destination that it even occurred to me that this little, local store might be closed on Sunday’s – it was. Next door is a market though, so I grabbed a lemon shake-up to cool off, pulling my credit card out of my too expensive purse.

Suddenly my “empowerment” of walking to fetch food like so many others must do seemed a bit ironic. I’m big on walking anyway with gas prices, parking, and the general dangerousness of driving. I have opted to walk to the grocery or restaurant or government building loads of times. Walking wasn’t new to me. This time, though, I had let myself feel powerful by not being thwarted by inconvenience. I had allowed myself to fantasize that I was less spoiled because I could fetch my fancy food without the aid of technology. Humbled, I took my overly-sweet (yes, I was ready to complain about too much sugar by this point) shake-up into the neighborhood health-food grocery to seek my craving in the freezer section. I have never walked so slowly through a grocery before.

Walking home with my craving, a snack I knew S-man had been craving, and my fancy cheese, I reflected on how many first world solutions I have for first world problems. I took a nearly three mile walk in the heat, reading blogs on my iPhone, and came home with more food than I’d intended to purchase. The humidity and allergens hurt my lungs a bit, but two puffs of albuterol when I got home, and I was fine. My house was air-conditioned, and I was able to cool down fairly quickly. If anything the exercise was good for me. I have nothing about which to complain, but there is much humor to be found in my venture.

That Is Love

Today I (the proverbial back of a camel) was broken by a straw. The straw was a mess from the dog. I told him he wasn’t coming in for a long time (He’s sleeping at my feet now), and I went to bed to cry. After a week of dealing with people’s complaints at work and renovations to the house with workmen tracking in mud, cutting my electricity, and turning off my plumbing for hours, I had already noticed that I was sensitive to any disappointment or frustration. The added mess from the (goofy, innocent) dog just overwhelmed me.

I’m not very good at feeling sorry for myself. Pouting rarely gets me anywhere, so while there were still some tears, I was out of bed after about two minutes. I changed into yoga pants, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and started cursing between my tears, attempting to do something about the mess that was overwhelming me. So what does pouting, a dirty house, and tears have to do with love?

I have my own personal ‘Stedman’ who has been a part of my life in one form or another for years – even before kids. This afternoon, it was just S-man and me at home when I had my melt down. He didn’t get mad at me for throwing a fit. He didn’t go to the gym to escape my crazed cleaning. He didn’t zone out on his iPad. Before I even left the bedroom, S-man fed the dog and put him outside, moving all the doggie stuff out of my way. Without a word to encourage my tantrum, he started sweeping the living room. As I scrubbed the kitchen top to bottom as only an angry woman can, he brought me the steam cleaner for the floor. I had moved on to scouring the bathroom before he uttered his first word, asking only if it was ok for him to vacuum downstairs. That’s a wise man. That is love.

S-man doesn’t talk about love much. He doesn’t clean at my house much either. He abhors tantrums. Acts of service is his love language – that and gifts. I don’t get emotional often and he wouldn’t know how to deal with it anyway, but he did recognize at least my situational stressor and care enough to help me get it under control. Sometimes it’s the fact that someone cares that makes the impact even more than their efforts to help fix the problem. Because he cared I was able to pull it together without putting everything away because we are still renovating and down a room (oh the clutter!) and before anyone else could see that crazed mascara-smeared look in my eye. Only the ones that really love us get to see the mascara smeared by tears angry face, right?

For the record, I did have to clean up the bathroom again after he left, but I’ll forgive him – this time. 

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